FM Nirmala Sitharaman corners Congress on killing of Kashmiri Pandits in J&K

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday denied the opposition’s charge that the BJP too shared responsibility for its failure to stop the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990 as it was supporting the then VP Singh-led government at the Centre.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, the minister said terror killings were being carried out in Kashmir before 1990, when the National Conference was in power in JK in alliance with the Congress and recalled then Governor Jagmohan’s warning of dark clouds of terror over the valley. .

He listed “seven major incidents” or killings of Hindus by terrorists in 1989, along with the respective FIR numbers.

The minister was replying to a discussion on the Budget 2022-23 for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (JK) in the Rajya Sabha. The House later returned the relevant bills completing the process of passing the Jammu and Kashmir budget, which was approved by the Lok Sabha on March 14.

During the discussion, the Congress party hit out at the BJP, saying it was supporting the VP Singh-led government at the Center in 1990, when Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave the Valley after being targeted by terrorists. Was.

“I just want to put the facts on record. The National Conference government with the support of the Indian National Congress was in power in Jammu and Kashmir from November 1986 to January 18, 1990.

“And Governor Jagmohan reached Jammu and Kashmir (on January 20, 1990) after the resignation of the then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah …. January 20, 1990 is when the Governor reaches Srinagar,” the minister said.

“… Whatever happened in 1990, we all know that we have listed and we are all watching it too.

“But what happened in 1989 when this (Farooq Abdullah) government was still there, from November 1986 to January 18, 1990. I will just take the example of 1989 when the National Conference and the Indian National Congress were still in government,” Sitharaman said.

The finance minister also told the opposition that Governor Jagmohan (in his first term) had warned the then state government about the menace of terrorism in July 1989.

“Isn’t it true that Jagmohan ji also in his first phase of being governor, when he was asked to leave in July 1989, had not warned the authorities at that very time that the dark cloud of terrorists was actually Jammu- are dominating Kashmir, and it is necessary that the state government has to take steps.”

When she was referring to the 1989 murders, some opposition members asked her to focus on the budget.

To this, Sitharaman said the speeches of the opposition members were also focused on ‘Kashmir Files’ (film) and not on the budget, hence, they have every right to reply on all issues.

The Minister also told the House that since the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, there has been a significant reduction in terrorist activities and development works are being done in the Union Territory.

After the abrogation of Article 370, the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir were carved out of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Sitharaman also accused the Congress of internationalizing the Kashmir issue and asked why the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru took the matter to the United Nations.

“This is an issue that should not have gone to the global stage. It is essentially an Indian issue. We could have handled it. We are handling it, and we are showing the difference now,” she said.

However, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said: “I want to set the record straight. If the matter was taken to the UN Security Council, the issue was whether the military conflict would end or not. India did not. Accepting the referendum Do it.”

“The Office of the UN Observers was never given that sanctity. India held elections. The state of Jammu and Kashmir had elected governments. Not only that, we fought wars and we made it clear time and again, and it was India’s There has been a consistent position. Before 2014, that Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral part of the sovereign state of India,” he said.

Sitharaman criticized the Congress for questioning the abrogation of Article 370 and cited Prime Minister Nehru’s reply in Parliament in 1963 that ‘Article 370 is part of a certain transitional temporary arrangement. It is not a permanent part of the Constitution.

He told Congress members, “That transitional system remained in place for 70 years and when we removed it, you should have followed what Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had said and supported in 1963.”

Emphasizing that her manifesto from the days of the Jan Sangh had talked about abrogation of Article 370, Sitharaman said, “It was a promise made to the people of the country and we have fulfilled it.”

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